Tuesday, September 02, 2008

(No)Class Wars
What a drag it is getting old, indeed. There are fewer days when I just hop out of bed and hit the ground running. Today was like a typical Monday, with an extra dollop of inertia from the long week-end. But when caffeine, protein, NordicTrack and invigorating body wash fail, there is one home remedy of last resort: Pick a topic and emote.

It all comes so easily. To me. Thirty years into our marriage and Rick is still not used to the Smith tradition of badinage, persiflage plus a bit of jugular ripping debate. Sorry...in my family that’s a sport, just like tennis or marksmanship. And with all the sensual satisfaction of both pursuits.

So anyway...what started out as a polite discussion of current events took a predictably ugly turn. Today was the first day of school for Chicago public schools. The bulk of the news coverage - after Mayor Daley rang a ceremonial bell at the Miles Davis Magnet School* - focused on protest of inequity of school funding in Illinois. A movement was started to encourage children to stay home from their schoosl and try to enroll in money laden New Trier instead.

That’s futile. But aren’t most protests? A bed-in for peace. A lone young man facing down a tank in Tieneman Square. Symbolic, yes. Productive, no. Stupid, sometimes. I was feeling better already. And what a boost of adrenalin and endorphins when Rick has the temerity to say (was this for real or for sport?) that that’s why people move to good suburbs. People move to nice places for nice schools. And they have a long term interest in keeping the schools nice because nice schools mean nice property values. Schools, money, kids, money, houses, money, schools etc. - in one big venomous tail-biting benzene ring of self-interest.

This was energizing. I wouldn’t make an effort to get my children into New Trier. In fact, we live in a similarly well funded and enviable school district and have, for the most part, kept our children out of the schools. But I’m with the irate inner city activists on this one. Is public education in Illinois one big, inconsistent joke? And - and here is where the hackles really went up - why do you think that if the state gives our schools almost no money we are the ones being shafted?

I did accuse my husband of having no understanding at all, on account of the fact that he is a native spoiled Lake Forester. But I think it was more a matter of his having picked a side of the net and grabbed a virtual racquet. He spends his days recycling technology to underserved schools, so he’s gotta have some kind of grip on reality.

This was no time to appeal to reason. Or plead the case that missing a day of school can’t mean missing a lot. One last shot. Right from the sweet spot.

“It’s a protest. It’s calling attention to a problem. It might be effective. Can’t be any worse than a bunch of overfed frat boys turning over a car to end the war in Viet Nam.”

Time for work. Game over.

* How much do the kids learn about Davis? Does the cafeteria serve Bitches Brew?

No comments:

St. Isidore Foundation

I cannot live under pressures from patrons, let alone paint.
-- Michelangelo, quoted in Vasari's Lives of the Artists

Meet the Family...
Collect the Action Figures

Yes, three jade ribbons. 15 Years!
(not all the same child)
If you need to ask, you may not wish to know.

Site Meter